Are Cloud Providers the Bounty Hunters of IT?

This blog post is sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

Julie Hunt recently blogged about how “line-of-business (LOB) groups have been turning to cloud-based services to quickly set up technology solutions that support their business needs and objectives,” which is especially true when “IT teams are already carrying heavy workloads with ever-shrinking staffing levels, and frequently don’t have the resources to immediately respond to time-sensitive LOB needs.”

As I have previously blogged, speed and agility are the most common business drivers for implementing new technology, and the consumer technologies of cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) enable business users to directly purchase solutions.

When on-premises IT teams cannot solve their time-sensitive business problems, organizations use off-premises cloud providers, which are essentially the Bounty Hunters of IT.


The Bounty Hunters of IT

In The Empire Strikes Back, frustrated by the inability of on-premises IT teams (in this case, IT stood for Imperial Troops) to solve a time-sensitive business problem (in this case, crushing the competitive rebellion), Darth Vader uses the off-premises force.

“There will be a substantial reward for the one who finds the Millennium Falcon,” Vader explains to a group of bounty hunters. “You are free to use any methods necessary, but I want them alive.  No disintegrations.”  That last point was specifically directed at Boba Fett, the bounty hunter who would later provide a cloud-based solution by tracking the Millennium Falcon to Cloud City.

Cloud providers are the Bounty Hunters of IT, essentially free to use any technology methods necessary to solve time-sensitive business problems.  Although, in the short-term, cloud providers can help, in the long-term, if their solutions are not integrated into the IT Delivery strategy of the organization, they can also hurt.  One example is creating new data integration challenges.


“No Data Disintegrations”

“It’s clear,” Hunt explained, “that enterprises will continue to increase usage of cloud and SaaS offerings to find new ways to operate more competitively and efficiently.”  However, she noted it’s also clear that “the same challenges that enterprises face for on-premises data management obviously apply to data repositories in the cloud.”  And one new challenge is “data that cannot be aligned with enterprise datasets will destroy the value and cost savings that enterprises want from cloud services.”

“Moving any business relevant functionality to the cloud,” Christian Verstraete recently blogged, “requires addressing the issue of integrating the cloud-based applications with the enterprise IT systems.”  In his blog post, Verstraete examines three options for integrating cloud data and enterprise data: remote access, synchronization, and dynamic migration.

Although there will always be times and places for leveraging the Bounty Hunters of IT, before Boba Fett sells you a solution in Cloud City, make sure you emphasize that there should be “no data disintegrations.”

In other words, your cloud strategy must include a plan to prevent data in the cloud from becoming disintegrated in the sense that it is not integrated with the rest of the organization’s data.

This blog post is sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.


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